Mike and I had lunch at school with the girls today. It was the day the cafeteria serves their Thanksgiving meal, so it was a “special” menu. Normally, the lunch is $2.00 for kids and $2.80 for adults, but today’s was $3.50 for everyone, so not really a reflection of a typical lunch.
Since the girls bring a homemade packed lunch everyday it was exciting and a little confusing for them to get to go through the lunch line. Normally, the cafeteria provides a choice of 2-4 different entrées, but today it was just one. So, as we were going through, I said to the girls “Look, everyone gets the same thing, just like when I was in school. And, everyone gets vegetables too.”
At that point, one of the women serving said to me “Did you watch the news last night?” Since I assumed she was referring to the local news which I rarely watch, I said no. Then, she proceeded to tell me in a shocked voice that the congress wants to declare pizza to be a vegetable. So, I said that I had heard that and mentioned that when they wanted to declare ketchup as a vegetable in the Reagan years, it was protests from citizens that stopped that.
But, I was glad to hear this food service worker from the girls’ school show the same concern and shock at pizza being declared a vegetable that I did. I think that many food service employees feel trapped in the middle. They truly want to serve healthy food to kids, but the limited funding provided and the way that the food industry groups keep pushing them to adopt processed foods doesn’t help.
Here is a fuzzy picture of today’s lunch that I snapped after Leah had already started eating hers. There was also canned cranberry sauce available on the table where the plasticware and napkins were, but she didn’t get any. My girls all chose 1% white milk to drink along with a tiny handful of other kids; most kids had either chocolate or strawberry milk.
The “garden bar” which is not really a salad bar, more a row of bins with 3-4 selections of fruits and veggies (sometimes canned) was not open, so potatoes and green beans were the only veggies available and there was no fruit choice. I like green beans, but from what I have read, they are not nutritional powerhouses, to say the least, especially the canned ones we had. But, they are supposed to be a good source of fiber.
The menu described the meal as:
- Turkey & Dressing
- Potatoes & Gravy
- Green Beans
- Cranberry Sauce
- Fresh Baked Dinner Roll (packaged white roll, Leah had eaten it before I snapped the pic)
- Sweet Potato Bars w/ Whipped Topping (note: what we got was white cake, not a sweet potato bar)
Update: Just saw a link to this Chicago Public Schools lunch lady’s opinion of pizza being called a vegetable…love it.